|Publication number||US8146109 B2|
|Application number||US 11/675,614|
|Publication date||Mar 27, 2012|
|Priority date||Feb 15, 2007|
|Also published as||US20080201691|
|Publication number||11675614, 675614, US 8146109 B2, US 8146109B2, US-B2-8146109, US8146109 B2, US8146109B2|
|Inventors||Michael Shneerson, David A. Whitechapel, William A. Robertson, Pallavi Vajranabhaiah|
|Original Assignee||Microsoft Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (17), Non-Patent Citations (6), Referenced by (2), Classifications (5), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Developers of many application programs (“applications”) implement the applications so that they can be customized by third parties. To customize an application, a third party develops custom code (e.g., add-ins and document-level customizations) that uses functionality exposed by the application. The custom code may improve the usability of the applications or provide additional functionality (e.g., domain-specific functionality). Such applications are referred to as “host applications” because the custom code is hosted within the process of the application. Developers of applications typically want to encourage the development of custom code for their applications to increase the demand for their applications. As a result, such developers may provide “custom code runtimes” that facilitate the development of custom code. A runtime is code that is loaded along with custom code and provides services to the custom code. These services may include higher-level functionality than that exposed by the application or may include domain-specific functionality. When an application is to load and start the execution of custom code, the application may load the runtime and direct the runtime to load and start the execution of the custom code.
Because of the ease of developing custom code as “managed code,” many applications support the execution of custom code in the .NET Framework provided by Microsoft Corporation. The .NET Framework provides a common language runtime (“CLR”) that provides high-level operating system type services to the managed programs (including custom code and applications) and serves as an execution engine for managed programs. The CLR ensures that managed programs do not take any unauthorized action. As such, the CLR acts as a “sandbox” within which managed programs execute. The CLR provides application domains (“appdomains”) in which different managed programs can execute to help ensure that an errant managed program will not unduly affect the execution of another managed program.
In some environments, a host application may execute as unmanaged code, and custom code runtimes and custom code may execute as managed code. A host application provides the definition of the objects (e.g., Component Object Model (“COM”) objects) that it exposes to the managed code via a primary interop assembly (“PIA”). A PIA provides a specification of the methods of the exposed objects along with the signature of the methods. A developer of managed code can access the objects exposed by the host application based on the specification provided by the PIA. The .NET Framework provides the support needed for invoking such an exposed object across the application domain of the host application executing as unmanaged code and the application domain of the managed code.
Custom code runtimes provide “wrappers” to objects exposed by the host application. These wrappers may hide some of the complexity of the exposed objects and may provide higher-level functionality that facilitates the development of custom code. The custom code runtimes may allow the custom code to access an exposed object only via the wrapper and not directly. The exposed objects that are wrapped by the custom code runtimes may include application-level objects and document-level objects. An application-level object is an object that provides general access to the exposed features of the host application that are not specific to manipulating a document. A document-level object, in contrast, is an object that provides access to the exposed features of the host application that are for manipulating a document. For example, an application-level object may expose a feature that allows managed code to add a window at the bottom of the window of the host application that displays scrolling stock prices. A document-level object may expose a feature that allows managed code to insert a value into the cell of an opened spreadsheet. A wrapper for a document-level object for a spreadsheet may allow cells of a spreadsheet to be bound to a data source. For example, each row of the spreadsheet may be bound to a record of a table of a database, and each column may be bound to different fields of the table. When a field of a record of the table is updated, the wrapper interacts with the document-level object to update the corresponding cell of the spreadsheet. Similarly, when a cell of the spreadsheet is updated, the wrapper is notified by the document-level object and updates a corresponding field in the database.
A difficulty with such an architecture results when a host application and its custom code runtime are on different release cycles. If a new version of the host application is released that provides new functionality for an exposed object, the wrapper of the current version of the custom code runtime cannot access the new functionality of the exposed object. Nevertheless, existing custom code using the current version of the custom code runtime will likely continue to work correctly with the new version of the host application because host applications typically try to maintain such compatibility. For example, new functionality may be provided by new methods of an exposed object, rather than changing existing methods. The difficulty resulting from the different release cycles of the host application and custom code runtime is that a developer of custom code cannot release a new version of the custom code that takes advantage of the new functionality of the host application until a new version of the custom code runtime is released with a new version of the wrapper that exposes the new functionality through the wrapper. Thus, no custom code can be released to take advantage of the new functionality of the host application or any functionality of a new host application until after the next release of the custom code runtime with the new versions of wrappers for the new functionality or new wrappers for the functionality of the new host application.
A method and architecture for increasing version resiliency between a host application that is unmanaged code and custom code that is managed code is provided. According to a version resiliency technique, a host application exposes an application-level object and a document-level object. The host application provides an instance of the document-level object of the host application within an application domain of the host application and an instance of an application-level object of the host application within an application domain of the host application. A custom code runtime provides an instance of wrapper for the document-level object within the application domain of the custom code runtime. The custom code runtime also provides a mechanism within the application domain of the custom code runtime for providing to custom code a reference to the application-level object. The version resiliency technique thus allows custom code to access functionality of the application-level object directly using the reference without having to use a wrapper provided by the custom code runtime.
This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter.
A method and architecture for increasing version resiliency between a host application that is unmanaged code and custom code that is managed is provided. In one embodiment, according to the version resiliency technique, a host application exposes an application-level object and a document-level object. The host application provides an instance of the document-level object of the host application within an application domain of the host application and an instance of an application-level object of the host application within an application domain of the host application. The objects provide interfaces that are exposed to managed code for accessing the functionality of the host application. A custom code runtime provides an instance of wrapper for the document-level object within the application domain of the custom code runtime. The wrapper provides an interface between the document-level object and custom code. The custom code runtime also provides a mechanism within the application domain of the custom code runtime for providing to custom code a reference to the application-level object. For example, the reference may be a pointer to an interface exposed by the application-level object, which adheres to the Component Object Model. The version resiliency technique thus allows custom code to access functionality of the application-level object directly using the reference without having to use a wrapper provided by the custom code runtime. In this way, a developer of custom code can develop and release versions of the custom code that use new functionality of an application-level object provided by a new version of the host application without having to wait until a new release of the custom code runtime. However, because the custom code runtime provides a wrapper for the document-level object, custom code that uses new functionality exposed via the document-level object cannot be used until a new version of the custom code runtime with a wrapper that exposes that new functionality is released.
The computing devices on which the host application and custom code may be implemented may include a central processing unit, memory, input devices (e.g., keyboard and pointing devices), output devices (e.g., display devices), and storage devices (e.g., disk drives). The memory and storage devices are computer-readable media that may be embedded with computer-executable instructions that implement the host application and custom code. In addition, the instructions, data structures, and message structures may be stored or transmitted via a data transmission medium, such as a signal on a communications link.
The version resiliency technique may be used in conjunction with various computing systems or devices including personal computers, server computers, multiprocessor systems, microprocessor-based systems, network PCs, minicomputers, mainframe computers, distributed computing environments that include any of the above systems or devices, and the like. The host application and custom code may be used by various computing systems such as personal computers, cell phones, personal digital assistants, consumer electronics, home automation devices, and so on.
The host application and custom code may be described in the general context of computer-executable instructions, such as program modules, executed by one or more computers or other devices. Generally, program modules include routines, programs, objects, components, data structures, and so on that perform particular tasks or implement particular abstract data types. Typically, the functionality of the program modules may be combined or distributed as desired in various embodiments.
Although the subject matter has been described in language specific to structural features and/or methodological acts, it is to be understood that the subject matter defined in the appended claims is not necessarily limited to the specific features or acts described above. Rather, the specific features and acts described above are disclosed as example forms of implementing the claims. The version resiliency technique may be used to increase version resiliency between host applications provided by Microsoft's Visual Studio Tools for Office and custom code developed for those host applications. Accordingly, the invention is not limited except as by the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||719/328, 717/120|
|Apr 23, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: MICROSOFT CORPORATION, WASHINGTON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SHNEERSON, MICHAEL;WHITECHAPEL, DAVID A.;ROBERTSON, WILLIAM A.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:019194/0127
Effective date: 20070321
|Dec 9, 2014||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: MICROSOFT TECHNOLOGY LICENSING, LLC, WASHINGTON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MICROSOFT CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:034542/0001
Effective date: 20141014
|Sep 9, 2015||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4